Total Pageviews

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rolling Stone Magazine- New Media's BFF

  Newspaper readership and viewership of mainstream news continues to plummet. Many will tell you it is because of the 24-hour news cycle and the fact that more and more people, especially young people get their news and information from the Internet. But could it be more than that? Could it be that more than ever, mainstream media makes themselves part of the story? Could it be what appears to be a lack of research, the already formulated narrative of any given story, or the complete and transparent bias shown by most mainstream media journalists? Rolling Stone Magazine may be best equipped to answer those questions.
  A recent article in Rolling Stone chronicled the story of "Jackie". Jackie claimed to have been gang raped by several men at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. The story was very graphic and detailed. The incident took place in 2012, when Jackie said she was attending a party at a fraternity house with someone named "Drew". She says she was lured into a darkened room and raped by by five men. She later claimed it was seven men. Understandably, Jackie's life has not been the same since. She has been traumatized by this incident. When the story came to light however, a lot of questions began to surface, not just about Jackie's actual story, but the reporter behind the story, and her less than conventional way of writing it.
  So many young idealists enter into Journalism School each year with the goal of "changing the world", or something equally cheesy. That is a lofty goal, but it is not your job as a journalist. Contrary to what today's J-school students believe, it is not exactly rocket science to just report the facts of who, what, when, how, and why, which is your job.
  The author of the Rolling Stone piece, Sabrina Rubin Erdely failed to do quite a lot of those things in her piece. She obviously developed a great rapport with her subject, granted, very important. But she left a few things out, like the entire other side of the story. Erdely claims at Jackie's request, that she not contact the men accused of this crime. Even citizen journalists know that is an absolute game changer. What reporter worth their salt does not get both sides of the story or make such an agreement? Apparently, Erdely did not find this necessary. So now, you have a very gripping tale, but when do the accused get to tell their side?
  Other parts of the story began to unravel as well. As stated earlier, the number of assailants changed from five to seven. The fraternity in question said that no party or function was held on that weekend. Jackie also claimed that her date for the evening, "Drew", worked as a lifeguard at the campus pool and aquatic center. The fraternity's records indicate that none of their members held such a job. Even some of Jackie's close friends began to question her version of the evening's events.
  One might ask, where is
justice for Jackie? If this assault did indeed occur, will these men be held accountable? The sad truth is, more than likely not. There is certainly no forensic or DNA evidence left, Drew remains a mysterious character, if that is even his real name, and Jackie did not know the names of any of the other men involved.
  But there are other parts of the story looming. The first one being the perpetuating of the stereotype of the drunken horny frat guy. They are on every college campus in America for sure. But as with most stereotypes, it is a small percentage, and does not represent the majority. Then there is the much bigger question of shoddy reporting, and preconceived narratives. It is stories and journalists like this that are prompting more and more people to turn to alternate and new media sources. The moniker of Citizen Journalist is still no doubt mocked and snickered at in all of the Left Wing media circles. The advent of websites like Matt Drudge, The Blaze, and Breitbart are comedic fodder at all of the proper Manhattan cocktail parties that appear to be mandatory gatherings for media/political types. What happens though, when the mainstream media is totally preoccupied with their own sense of arrogance and grandeur, that all of a sudden they find that no one is watching anymore? That no one cares what they have to say before they even say it because, well, it will just be so predictable? That they have been replaced by the New Media? The one without an agenda?
  Sadly, there are more "journalists" out there like Sabrina Rubin Erdely, all ready to emerge from Journalism School to "change the world".
  It might just be that New media is already beating them to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment